Review by Choice Review
Since the first publication of this book (CH, Mar'96, 33-3766), Atwood has published three new novels--Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin (which won the Booker Prize), and Oryx and Crake--and a volume of essays (Negotiating with the Dead, CH, Oct'02, 40-0745); her earlier novel, The Handmaid's Tale, has been transformed into a critically acclaimed opera; and Atwood has been the subject of eight new scholarly studies and a symposium. These developments certainly justify an update of the earlier work. Howells (Univ. of Reading, UK) structures the volume chronologically, devoting a chapter to each novel. Her readings focus on particular themes: power politics, Canadian national identity, human rights and environmental issues, feminism, images of women artists, "re-vision" of history, and survival. Although Howells revised the original chapters only moderately, she added three chapters on the new fiction; these constitute 25 percent of the book. She did not thread recent scholarship into her earlier analyses but instead added suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter. This readable, comprehensive introduction to one of the leading contemporary women writers replaces the first edition, since the past decade has been such a rich one for Atwood's oeuvre and for critical response to her work. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Readers at all levels. E. R. Baer Gustavus Adolphus College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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